I’ll be running a workshop at the FEW CSS this year again. This is a great event I would encourage any women to join – my workshop is about leveraging strengths for career change, but as usual it will not be the ‘top ten tips!!!!’ sale. I believe a strength is something that makes you feel stronger. I believe that well examined career changes will make the difference between your next move and your ultimate move. I believe inquiry into our strengths and what we want next, help us to make the right decisions.
And here is a story that that delights me. I met some of my best friends at the 2008 CSS at Temple University, where I am now a guest lecturer. At that time I was unhappy in my job, low on confidence (although you might not have known that unless you knew me well), struggling to know what to do next and in need of a kick start. I was already a member of the British Embassy Choir and a fellow soprano, Wendela, gave me this flyer. I invested in the day and it set my trajectory and mindset into orbit! In the very best way. So happy 10-year friend anniversary to my darling Lori, what a treat it was to meet such a positive and friendly face on that day, and to name you among my dearest friends and Tokyo family. You inspire me endlessly with your fearlessness, your ability to create change and your work ethic and parenting. My darling Julia. You take ownership of everything in your wake. Our conversations are stellar, your consistent reinvention and stick-with-it-ness is legendary and I love you my sister. We’ve been through things. To amazing Sarajean. You are my mentor and my big sister. On that day we attempted our first partnership – I attended your event at Shinsei Bank and our friendship was forged. I thought you were a goddess – way out of my little league. But it turns out we were meant to be together and being President and Vice-president of FEW together was such a great experience. You taught me so much. We can have hard conversations and do hard things. I will never ever forget your support and leadership during that time when I left my job, ran away for a month and started a new, rich and free life. Your parties are legendary. Your influence far-reaching. Your fearlessness and force of nature matched only by your tenderness and femininity.
With these people and these resources in my life I am forever grateful to this event and to FEW for supporting me through my changes, for laying paths with me and believing in me and taking chances on me. Being the President of FEW was one of the greatest honors of my life and I grew, was supported, pushed, believed in, encouraged, nurtured, challenged and questioned in ways I had never been before. I am shocked they are wheeling me out for another year of workshops! But also thrilled to be here to be of service and useful and to give back to the organisation that has given me so much.